I've finally learned how to tame my curly, frizzy hair

Do you ever wake up with a flashing, worrisome thought? For those of you with hair that likes to twist, frizz, tangle, wave and bend; you know exactly what I’m talking about.

This morning I woke up to my third alarm (yes, I set three to be safe), with an immediate question bouncing around my head. The question: "Can I get away with my hair today, or has it turned into a frizz ball?" If you can relate to either of these sentiments, then welcome to the curly club. Population: frazzled.

Assessing the damage

Checking to see the damage from my night's sleep, I examined my hair in the mirror. Luckily, it did not grow to Hagrid frizz level, but the curls and roots needed help. ASAP. What I’ve failed to mention is, the night before, I went to bed with damp hair (too tired to blow-dry and too lazy to straighten). Hoping for a miracle, I fell asleep crossing my fingers. Absolute dangerous territory. 

Some people might say, ‘I’d kill for your beach waves’, but little do they know that this look isn’t 100% natural. Yes, my hair likes to have a dance as opposed to walk in a straight line, but it moves to its own beat on any given day. It's extremely unpredictable, hence my penchant for blow-drying. I mean, it’s certainly more full proof. Have a job interview? A wedding you’re attending? A clean and smooth blow-dry will do the trick. Not the loud, doubling-in-size hairdo. 

C-c-c-curly

If your hair also has a tendency to curl, I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve had a love-hate relationship with it. For example, I distinctly remember when ghd’s hit the market. I was a young teen excited to finally tame my mane into something more – simple. Remember that scene in Sex and the City, where the girls are discussing Hubbell and Katie in ‘The Way We Were,’ drawing comparisons to Mr. Big and Carrie?

Miranda: “She has wild curly hair...” 

Carrie: “Hello, c-c-c-curly!” (As she holds one of her blonde ringlets)

Miranda: “Yeah, so he leaves her and marries this simple girl with straight hair.”

Embracing the mane

As a teenager, I wanted to be the simple girl; the girl with the straight hair that didn’t stand out too much. I didn’t want to be Carrie or Katie. They were left heartbroken, after all, which did not fit my romantic ideal at the time. I now know that was foolish. Now, I try to embrace my hair more and more. It’s a slow process, but I’m finally getting there. Plus, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way…

Taming my curls and frizz

1. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to put a dryer anywhere near your hair. You will end up looking like a lion, and not in a good way. Letting it dry naturally is always best, even if it takes hours. Ideally, don’t sleep on it while it’s damp. I learned the hard way that it leaves your curls limp and flattened, with added frizz. Stunning... not.

2. While letting it air dry, encourage the curls that aren’t ‘lifting’. Bleached or dyed hair will find it more difficult to pick up a wave. For me, the outer layer of my hair tends to 'stiffen', for lack of a better word. This is due to a combination of heat damage and having highlights. Take small sections of your hair into your hand and scrunch it upwards. Do this over and over until it starts to hold in place.

3. Using a curling/de-frizz serum, repeat step two while your hair is completely wet. I personally love Kérastase Oléo-Curl Cream. It smells gorgeous and it doesn’t give that crunchy feeling once your hair is dry.

4. Next comes my secret weapon, which works like a dream every single time: rainwater. I know it may seem a little strange, but I promise it’s the best thing your hair will ever see. I collect little jars of rainwater, and once my hair has seen steps one-to-three (and making sure it’s almost dry) I take a handful of rainwater and splash it against the middle and end sections of my hair; carefully avoiding the root.

Rainwater, one of the purest forms of ‘soft water’, doesn’t contain as many minerals as ‘hard water’ does. This is why it is known to smooth and add shine to your hair, while hard water (from our taps) does the opposite. 

5. If all else fails, take out the curling wand and fix up any strands of hair that didn’t follow the rest of your locks. When I was younger, I had very tight curls à la Shirley Temple. Now, my hair tends to fall into loose ringlets/waves. When I use my curling wand, I make sure to separate the hair out along the wand, so I don’t get that tightness. 

6. The benefit of letting your hair go its natural, kinky way is you don’t have to keep fixing it throughout the week. In fact, I usually prefer the look of my curls on day three or four after washing. To keep it neat for the day ahead, I brush out any ratty ends, keeping my brush away from the root and mid-lengths. If, for some reason it picks up frizz throughout the week, I’ll splash a little more rainwater on it to put it in place.

7. Lastly, in a perfect world, avoiding hair dye and heat will do wonders to your curls. I’ve also heard protein treatments can strengthen your hair and help keep the overall condition and shine.

Curly hair isn’t built the same as its straighter counterpart. It is much weaker, and therefore needs to be taken care of. I haven’t tried any protein treatments/ products yet but they are definitely next on my list. It’s safe to say that it’s been a tumultuous relationship, but I have a newfound appreciation for my hair. It’s only taken 27 years.

Photo: Sex and the City, HBO

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